The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
Billo's Sleuth Stunt
Billo's Sleuth Stunt.
Billo had just come off shift in the signal office, and was about to dash away to the cook-house—we boasted a cook in those days—when he was pulled up by Wing, who remarked, "See that chap over there? No, not the Gyppo, but the bloke to the right of the cable-wagon. He's wearing a flash tunic and a cap—get him? Just now he was asking where the bully-beef comes from. He also made other suspicious enquiries amongst the mob. Anyhow, Joe gave him the good oil, that the bully came from the Q.M."
Billo paused, open-mouthed and wild-eyed.
"Go on!" he managed to ejaculate after he had coughed up a venturesome fly, and his eyes had resumed their normal and natural appearance. "He ought to be watched—I'll follow him and bring him back to the A.P.M."
"Yes, 1 reckon you're right," said Wing, "someone ought to find out what his game is. He is probably a spy."
"Right 0!"said Billo, "I'll see that he does not go very far, like that bloke who rode through the dump last week."
Billo threw his mess-tin into the bivvy, and neatly bonneted old Alec, who, for some unaccountable reason—there were no Taubes about—had his head well down in the sand-bagged corner, then set off on the sleuth act, closely followed by Wing. It is to the latter humourist that we are indebted for an account of the tact displayed by Billo.
Wing soon returned, and had scarcely settled down in the bivvy before Alec inquired how Billo coped with the situation.
"Oh, all right," Wing answered. "He chased the bloke to the railway siding and grabbed him just as he was boarding a truck. Billo was dead excited, and spluttered out, 'Excuse me, will you please explain to me who you are?' The bloke grinned a bit, hoisted himself into a truck, and said, 'You have no authority to ask me that.' 'Haven't I? You'll see (Billo rose to the occasion and bounced). Explain what you are doing here, or show me your passport.' Anyhow, the bloke grinned again, and showed a paper of some sort to Billo, who didn't seem to be able to make anything out of it. But I heard him warning the other occupants of the truck to keep an eye on the 'spy', and to hand him over at Tarakanto. I got tired of waiting, and came home after that."
Just as Wing had finished his tale, Billo, swollen with importance, blew in, and a moment later, Joe came along to the bivvy. Billo told a hair-raising yarn about having put the wind up the 'spy'—"saw him shiver with fright"—and having fixed him so that he would be stopped at Tarakanto. He described his appearance—"a short, nuggety chap, with a little mo, and wearing a cap."
Then Joe, a huge grin breaking across his hard dial, exclaimed, "Come off it, Billo! that bloke is one of my cobbers. He is boss of a Y-Emma, and came here this morning to see if we wanted anything brought back from Cairo."